The Grant Union Prospector football team came away with the victory they needed Friday, crushing the Weston-McEwen TigerScots 46-6 and punching their ticket to round one of the OSAA Football State Championships.
The Prospectors, seeded No. 16, will face the top-seeded Kennedy Trojans at 1 p.m. Saturday at Kennedy High School in Mt. Angel.
Friday night’s contest began with a 6-6 tie after the first quarter.
Grant Union head coach Jason Miller said his team then stepped up defensively and forced a turnover — an interception by sophomore Justin Hodge.
“We scored a touchdown on that drive and scored again just before the half to go up 18-6,” Miller said. “The second half, we were able to move the ball and get stops on defense.”
It was Grant Union’s final league game, finishing second in Special District 6 behind the No. 3-seeded Heppner Mustangs.
The Prospectors had an early look at Kennedy in the preseason, the Trojans taking the 42-14 win on Oct. 4.
Looking forward to this week’s game, Miller said Kennedy is ranked No. 1 for a reason.
“They are solid across the board and have a lot of experience,” he said. “We have improved since we played them last, and we feel like we can force this game to the wire, if we continue to play physically tough and smart.”
There will be a noisy sendoff for the Prospectors as they leave for the game at 8:30 a.m. Friday. The tradition usually includes emergency vehicles with their lights and sirens blaring and vehicles following the bus, honking their horns, as well as people waving from the sidewalks in John Day and Mt. Vernon.